WORTHINGTON — Work has yet to begin on modifications to the Lake Ocheda dam south of Worthington after the contractor, delayed by rains while working on other projects, notified the Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District that it was behind schedule.

Land Pride Construction, Paynesville, has several other dam projects it has been trying to complete this year, OOWD Administrator Dan Livdahl told the watershed district’s board of managers in a Tuesday meeting.

“They are going to show up in early November,” Livdahl said.

Prior to the rains earlier this week, the water level on Lake Ocheda had lowered as far as it could with the concrete sill still in place on the south side of the dam.

“The lake has dropped one foot and it can’t go further until the dam (renovation) is completed,” Livdahl said.

While the start of construction is delayed, the work is expected to be completed yet this year.

Livdahl said the deepest parts of Lake Ocheda are at approximately 3.5 feet yet. Once the concrete sill is removed on the dam, that will allow the water level to drop another foot. Weather permitting, a drawdown is still planned this winter with the hope of prompting a fish kill on the carp-infested lake.

Prairie View repairs completed

Henning Construction of Adrian was hired by the watershed district last month to repair the damage done to the Prairie View spillway. The engineered spillway, constructed with the use of Flexamat fabric, has failed three times in two years due to excessive rain events.

Henning Construction repaired the spillway by hauling in more than 1,000 yards of Class 4 riprap. The slope was created at a 10:1 ratio with two feet of riprap.

“The job was done two weeks ago. It looks good,” Livdahl said.

The work cost the district $146,000, which it hopes to recoup from the Federal Emergency Management Agency due to its inclusion in the county’s disaster declaration from June 2018.

In addition to the spillway repairs, Livdahl said the contractor hired to reseed the area following construction was also brought in and completed the work.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved an increase in per diems paid to watershed managers from $50 to $75 for meetings, and $125 for watershed business lasting three hours or more in a single day. The state allowance for watershed districts recently increased to $125 per day. The OOWD had been at a rate of $50 per day for at least the past 20 years, while both the Heron Lake and Kanaranzi-Little Rock watershed districts pay $75 per day.

  • Voted to sign an agreement with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources to accept a $265,000 grant, if Nobles County Pheasants Forever opts to move forward with its plan to purchase a 56-acre parcel in the Worthington wellhead protection area from landowner Jesse Drost. The local PF chapter was offered the land, adjacent to Pheasant Run 1 along 320th Street, at a cost of $494,792. The chapter had planned to contribute $100,000 toward the purchase price.

  • Will hire Graham’s Concrete, Adrian, to do riprap repair on the pond below the Lake Bella spillway at a cost of $12,000. The work will be completed this fall, and is also covered by FEMA disaster funding.

  • Authorized buffer strip incentive payments of $36,200 to landowners within the watershed district.

  • Approved permits for the city of Worthington for erosion and sediment control during its construction of a sanitary sewer extension on East Avenue; and for Robert Ludlow, 807 W. Shore Drive, to replace an existing retaining wall on his property.